Kenny Dalglish returns to Liverpool with great expectations and Liverpool’s season has not been in vain. Liverpool won the Carling Cup and they are still in the runnings to win the FA Cup. Outside of their cup performance, their League play has not lived up to expectations.
They have been in a slide and Kenny Dalglish has not been able to stop the bleeding for the men in red. When Liverpool loses, often it is not a question as if they have been outplayed. They lost to Arsenal even though they easily had the majority of possession. On April fool’s day, they lost to Newcastle but with some luck their strikers, Suarez, Bellamy and Carroll could have given their team the lead if the gods had been kind to Liverpool.
Liverpool will not qualify for European football next year. The real challenge for the Club next year will be whether Kenny Dalglish can mold the abundance of talent into a formidable team. There is no shortage of talent- Carroll, Suarez, Gerrard, Bellamy, Downing, Henderson, Kuyt, Skrtel, Johnson-etc. Dalglish has started and substituted without rhyme or reason. But they do have holes in their backline and it is evident that since Agger has been hurt, Liverpool’s defense has been somewhat porous.
Alan Pardew’s achievements at Newcastle far exceed Dalglish’s accomplishments at Liverpool. Pardew’s acquisitions have been exquisite. The acquisition of Demba Ba and Cisse have given Newcastle a strike force that will change a game in a minute. But the straw that stirs that drink is Ben Arfa who is emerging as a destroyer of Premier League defenses. They lost Coloccini, their central defender, and replaced him with the youngster, Perch who had an outstanding game against the bleeding Reds.
Pardew in one season has put together a team with a competitive edge with solid defense, energetic mid-field and a striker force that with the help of playmaker, Ben Arfa, simply pulverizes the defense of opponents. Newcastle, bereft of Andy Carroll and Joey Barton, is the real deal. They have invested heavily in non-expensive players from Africa and have reaped the rare dividends in the 2011-2012 EPL season.